Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) (chemical formula (C8H8)x· (C4H6)y·(C3H3N)z) is a common thermoplastic. Its melting point is approximately 105 °C (221 °F). It is a copolymer made by polymerizing styrene and acrylonitrile in the presence of polybutadiene. The proportions can vary from 15 to 35% acrylonitrile, 5 to 30% butadiene and 40 to 60% styrene. (that’s why one company’s ABS is different from another, and add the color effect into the equation to boot!)
The result is a long chain of polybutadiene criss-crossed with shorter chains of poly(styrene-co-acrylonitrile). The nitrile groups from neighboring chains, being polar, attract each other and bind the chains together, making ABS stronger than pure polystyrene.
The styrene gives the plastic a shiny, impervious surface.
The butadiene, a rubbery substance, provides resilience even at low temperatures.
For the majority of applications, ABS can be used between −25 and 60 °C (-13 and 140 °F) as its mechanical properties vary with temperature. The properties are created by rubber toughening, where fine particles of elastomer are distributed throughout the rigid matrix.
Production of 1 kg of ABS requires the equivalent of about 2 kg of petroleum for raw materials and energy. It can also be recycled.
- Excellent resistance (no attack) to Glycerine, Inorganic Salts, Alkalis, Many Acids, Most Alcohols and Hydrocarbons
- Limited resistance (moderate attack and suitable for short term use only) to Weak Acids
- Poor resistance (not recommended for use with) Strong Acids and Solvents, Ketones, Aldehydes, Esters, and some Chlorinated Hydrocarbons
- Maximum Temperature: 176°F 80°C
- Minimum Temperature: -4°F -20°C
- Autoclavable: No
- Melting Point: 221°F 105°C
- Tensile Strength: 4,300 psi
- Hardness: R110
- UV Resistance: Poor
- Specific Gravity: 1.04
- It can be thermo-formed, pressure formed, blow molded, sheared, sawed, drilled, or even “cold stamped”
- Joints can be ultrasonic welded, thermo-welded, and chemically bonded
- Impact resistant
- Commonly used for telephone bodies, safety helmets, piping, furniture, car components, TV casings, radios, control panels, LEGOs.
- Valve bodies, material handling equipment